TAMPA, Fla. — Hurricane Dorian continues to build strength in the Atlantic Ocean. Meteorologists anticipate it will make landfall as a Category 4 storm on Florida's east coast.

As people prepare for high winds and possible flooding, veterinarians are reminding people to include their pets in their emergency plans.

Experts from Essentials PetCare suggests pet owners check to make sure vaccinations and medical records are current, ID tags are up-to-date and that your pet is microchipped.

“Having an emergency plan for the entire family is essential, especially when preparing for a hurricane of this magnitude,” Dr. Douglas Spiker, president and co-founder of Essentials PetCare, said in a statement. “We recommend keeping a close eye on the changing conditions of the storm as it approaches landfall and takes every precaution when it comes to ensuring your families safety. This includes your pets.”

Spiker also recommends the following tips for pet owners:

  • Have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.

  • Make a pet emergency kit, which includes an ample supply of food and water, a first-aid kit, any medications your pet has been prescribed, toys, treats, bedding, and sanitation supplies, like plastic bags and litter box supplies.

  • Have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if they panic, they can't escape.

If you are required to evacuate or choose to leave before a mandatory evacuation order is given, make sure where you are planning to take go is pet-friendly.

For public health reasons, some emergency shelters do not allow pets. For the shelters that do allow pets, you will be required to have a copy of your pet’s medical record including proof of current vaccinations.

RELATED: Tampa Bay-area counties offer sandbags to prepare for Hurricane Dorian

Pet Checklist: 

  • Documents (Rabies certificate, microchip information, medical records, license)
  • Food for a week
  • Water for a week
  • Bowls
  • Medication
  • Collar and leash
  • Towels
  • Shampoo
  • Toy
  • If you evacuate to a storm shelter, you will need a pet carrier.

RELATED: Hurricane Dorian could be powerful Category 4 storm by the time it nears Florida

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